Get ready to vote! The YALSA election runs from March 24 through May 1, and to help you be an informed voter, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2015 YALSA Governance and 2017 Selection Committee candidates as well as the ALA President-Elect Candidates.

Today we’ll hear from a candidate for the 2017 Nonfiction Award. Members on this committee serve a twelve month term. The committee consists of a chair, eight members, a Booklist consultant, and an administrative assistant if the Chair requests. The Chair and four members will be appointed by the President-Elect of YALSA. The remaining four members will be elected by the membership of YALSA.

The Nonfiction Award committee’s primary job is to select the best nonfiction title published for young adults between Nov. 1 and Oct. 31 of the current year. A full description of the committee’s duties and responsibilities can be found here.

Full biographical information on all of the candidates can be found on the sample ballot.

Today we have an interview with Loren Spector.

Name and current position:
Loren Spector, YA Librarian III at Los Angeles Public Library

Besides reading YA materials, what best qualifies you for being a member of this YALSA selection committee?
I do read a lot of YA materials (both fiction and non-fiction). I’m also passionate about getting good books into the hands of anyone (teens, adults or children) who wants them. I’m looking forward to getting to read and evaluate books and be able to make purchasing and reader’s advisory decisions based off of my reading.

Talk about the experience you’re bringing to the selection committee with selection, evaluation, and working as part of a team.
At LAPL, we are lucky to be able to purchase books for our communities on a branch level. I have been purchasing YA materials for the LAPL branches I’ve worked at for the past 7 years. This has required me to stay on top of what is coming out, what is popular and what works best for the community I am purchasing for. I have also been a member of the Young Adult Reviewers of Southern California for the past 6 years and have read and reviewed almost 100 books as part of that group. Being a librarian at a community branch also means that I work as part of a team everyday. We have a small staff of 8 people and have to make many decisions regarding the branch and collection together. As Librarian III, part of my role is to act as a mentor and liaison between my region of 13 branches at LAPL and the rest of the system. I have also served on several LAPL system-wide committees in my role as Librarian III.

What role do you think books can play in addressing some of the issues that negatively impact their lives?
Most importantly I think that books can help people realize that there are other people with similar issues and in similar situations as they are. If a book can help show someone that they are not alone in their personal suffering, readers have the opportunity to learn more about their situation and how to address it.

Why should YALSA members choose you to be a member of this selection committee?
I think YALSA members should choose me to be a member of this selection committee because I’m passionate about YA services and dedicated to helping choose the best books for our community of readers. I’m looking forward to the work ahead of me in reading hundreds of books and finding the ones that all YA librarians will be excited about sharing with their readers.

About Kelly Czarnecki

Kelly Czarnecki is a Teen Librarian at ImaginOn with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. She is a member of the YALSA blog advisory board.

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